Minister Champagne on Rogers, fourth wireless competitor
A court ordered Canada’s competition body to pay millions to Rogers Communications Inc., saying the country’s antitrust czar engaged in “unreasonable behavior” in its legal challenge of the company’s takeover of a rival.
Competition Commissioner Matthew Boswell “adopted an unnecessarily contentious approach” in trying to block Rogers’ deal with Shaw Communications Inc., dragging out the legal case, the federal competition tribunal said in a ruling dated Aug. 28.
The tribunal, which is Canada’s merger court, ordered the commissioner to pay about $13 million (US$9.6 million) to Rogers and Shaw in legal fees and costs.
Boswell pressed ahead with his battle even after the companies agreed to sell most of Shaw’s wireless business to Quebecor Inc. to address concerns that Rogers would have too much market share. He argued the court should still block the $20 billion takeover on the grounds it was anticompetitive, but he lost, and Rogers finally acquired Shaw in April, two years after the deal was announced.
Paul Crampton, the Federal Court of Canada chief justice who presided over the antitrust hearings last year, wrote that the commissioner’s position “was intransigent and should now have consequences.” A spokesperson for Boswell didn’t immediately return an email requesting comment.
“Although the amounts to be awarded to the Respondents represent only a small fraction of the legal fees actually incurred, it appears that they far exceed any amount that has previously been awarded by the Tribunal for legal fees,” Crampton said in the ruling.